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Brunel tunnel and new viaduct feature in new Devon cycle route

17-mile cycle way to be completed next Spring and will join Drake's Trail network...

Work has begun on a new 17-mile cycle path between Plymouth and Tavistock in Devon that will incorporate a railway tunnel built by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel more than 150 years ago as well as a new, £2 million 1,000-foot long viaduct.

Once completed in Spring 2012, the new route, which follows a former branch railway line and includes the Grenofen tunnel, built in 1859 for the South Devon and Tavistock Railway, will be incorporated into the Drake’s Trail cycling and walking network, reports the BBC.

The tunnel closed during the 1960s after the railway fell victim to the ‘Beeching Axe’ and was bought by Devon County Council for £1 ahead of its inclusion in the project, in which it will be joined by the new viaduct across the Walkham Valley.

Talking about the tunnel, project manager Graham Cornish told the BBC: “Most of the stone work is in pretty good condition. The tunnel is an absolutely critical missing link in this."
Devon County Council is building the trail in partnership with West Devon Borough Council and the Devon Renaissance regeneration company, and funding is being provided by the European Union and the South West Regional Development Agency.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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WilliamNB | 12 years ago

For updated photos and progress reports on Gem bridge and Grenofen tunnel, have a look at my blog:

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